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Parents aren't always to blame when youth act out
Wonder why some youth are using violence to solve resolutions?
Check your own online activity. It might be part of the problem.
Adults airing dirty laundry online, screaming for vigilante justice and threatening violence in angry virtual mobs isn't teaching teens violence isn't the answer. These actions are violent.
Were you one of the ones screaming for the Glace Bay High School students who swarmed a man on Tuesday, punching and kicking him after he had fallen, to be given a taste of their own medicine?
Did you immediately assume the parents of the teens involved come from homes with negligent parents, who didn't raise them properly and taught them to act this way?
Did you then call for the blood of the parents too, people you have never met, who you know nothing about?
When the video of the fight came through your social media feed, did you take to the keyboard to scream profanities at the teens and call for violence against them?
Did you write about them as being completely bad, evil and horrible for this incident, without even knowing if they often act like this or if this was a first time, extremely bad decision?
How many times did you share the names of the alleged youth involved, without checking if those were the youth involved, unknowingly sharing the names of teens in class when the fight happened?
Are you one of the people who felt it was justified to send messages full of hate and threats of violence to the youth and their families when you found their social media accounts?
Did you swarm and attack them by the hundreds using words to cause pain instead of punches?
That's violence just like those punches and kicks were. And before you feel the need to immediately blame the parents for the actions of their teenage children, ask yourself how much violence are you showing youth with your conduct online.
Children and youth spend so much time online it would be fair to say the majority of them spend hours per day going through social media feeds. They see how quickly people jump on board a cause that upsets them, how the supporters grow and how threats of violence follow, often getting likes and praise.
How can they learn empathy or calm, non-violent resolution skills for perceived conflicts or threats when they are watching adults online gang up on others before even knowing all the facts of a story?
Or they see some man share revenge porn of his ex-partner on his Facebook page which their children can see? Or a group of trolls trashing someone for being too fat or too ugly to be posting photos?
Youth today have always been online. They've grown up with it and for them, it's as real as real life. If adults don't set examples there, how can we expect youth to uphold moral standards we demand people do in society?
The students involved deserve punishment for their part in this altercation, that's undeniable, and it's started with Glace Bay High School administration acting swiftly with suspensions and an expulsion - even though the incident doesn't appear to have happened on school grounds. Police are investigating and there is still the chance charges will be filed.
But do they deserve to be viciously attacked online, threatened with violence or written off as going nowhere in life?
Do all their parents deserve to be viciously blamed for something they knew nothing about until the school called them?
Most likely not. Just like that man didn't deserve to be swarmed like he was.
Nicole Sullivan is a reporter with the Cape Breton Post works the diversity, education and enterprise beats.